Two Seniors Die in Hospital Murder-Suicide

The husband and wife found dead were both in their 70s.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Violent incidents in healthcare facilities do not always include staff. Rather, they more often involve patients, as was the case recently in an incident at Riverside Regional Medical Center. 

A husband and wife in their 70s were found dead from gunshot wounds in an apparent murder-suicide at the medical center in Newport News, Virginia, according to WAVY. The incident occurred in a fourth-floor room. Both individuals were pronounced dead at the scene, and police confirmed they are not seeking suspects. The hospital was locked down, but patient treatment was not disrupted. 

In such situations, de-escalation is one approach managers can take to diffuse the situation. But for the approach to work, staff must be trained in de-escalation strategies. 

Related: Hospital Murder Highlights Need for De-escalation Training

These are four approaches to include in de-escalation training, according to AlGene Caraulia, vice president of integration and sustainability at the Crisis Prevention Institute:  

  • Address individual needs. Focusing on an individual-centered approach helps to create an inclusive and culturally aware approach to a person in crisis. 
  • Explore the roots of the behaviors. Understanding trauma’s effects on the psyche of the person in crisis and seeing how one’s own behavior can impact the behavior of the person in crisis. 
  • Recognize and address defensive behaviors. Help teams know why, how and when to implement restrictive strategies when verbally intervening to de-escalate defensive behaviors and to recognize chances for learning. 
  • Limit physical interventions. Teach employees how to use certain interventions for escalated behaviors that pose a threat to the person or others, however, this should be used sparingly.  

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

May 29, 2024

Topic Area: Safety

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